Academy of Sports and Education has joined other football organisations to sign a joint Declaration committing to building a mentally healthy environment at all levels of the game, as a lasting legacy of the Heads Up campaign.
The Mentally Healthy Football Declaration will see all of UK football recognising that mental health is a priority for positive action.
The UK football family will build on the important work that clubs and football organisations are already doing, working together to scale up these efforts across the football system and develop ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.
Following an unprecedented season for football, mental health issues are more relevant than ever. Through the Declaration, football has committed to working together to embed an environment across all of UK football:
where players and staff are encouraged to look after their mental health just as they look after their physical health
where they feel able to spot the signs that they, a team-mate or colleague might be struggling and know where to access support
where speaking out about mental health is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness
The landmark Declaration has also been signed by other CEOs from across the football ecosystem, including the FA, the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL), Scottish FA, Wales FA, Irish FA, League Managers Association (LMA), Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).
ASE signed the declaration a alongside other senior leaders of each organisation.
Academy Director Jamie Strong said: “Academy of Sports and Education is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health for our members and staff. Signing the ‘Mentally Healthy Football Declaration’ is confirmation of our continued commitment to promoting awareness around mental health‘
The Declaration will see the formation of a UK-wide mental health implementation group, working towards a collective ‘game plan’ for the first time to ensure the mental health of players, staff, managers, coaches and officials is prioritised across the game.
Together, the group will share best practice and progress towards the pledges in the declaration, which include rolling out training, education and guidance to all clubs, implementing mental health strategies, and embedding mental health within policies and practices.
This will build on the ongoing work ASE is already doing to promote mental health, which includes long-standing collaboration with Mind as part of an extensive Life Skills programme for players aged 16 to Under-23, parents and club staff.
ASE has also developed a Personal Development programme for scholars, with mentors and online resources providing opportunities to support Academy players’ performance, well-being and transition.